A text message asking if he could do a Persian accent was the start of a Harrow actor's road to Iran - and a role in a BAFTA nominated film.

Shiraz Haq, 31, of South Harrow, plays one of the lead roles in I Am Nasrine, which has been nominated for the BAFTA for outstanding debut by a director or writer.

Mr Haq, who was born at Northwick Park Hospital and attended Welldon Park Junior School and then Whitmore High School, will be attending the BAFTA ceremony on February 10.

I Am Nasrine, which was written and directed by Tina Gharavi, is set in modern-day Iran and in the UK.

It follows the story of brother and sister Nasrine and Ali, played by Mr Haq.

The siblings grow up in a middle class family in Tehran but Nasrine has a run-in with the police, as a result of which she and Ali decide to move to the UK. 

The film follows their trials and tribulations as they build a new life in this country.

Mr Haq, who taught children with special educational needs at Whitmore High School before becoming an actor, heard about the role by text message while he was on a bus.

The message, from his voice coach, asked him whether he could do a Persian accent.

To get the audition, the actor said he thought he could, giving him just five days to practise.

Having landed the role he spent two weeks in Iran in September 2009 filming.

Mr Haq said: “When I first got to Iran people seemed happy, the economy was turning over and it seemed ok.

“When I had settled in I started to notice the undercurrent of tension. There were lots of protests outside our hotel at night.”

Speaking of the BAFTA nomination, the actor said: “At first I thought it was an elaborate hoax. I couldn’t believe it.

“I was over the moon – emotional. It was one of those moments of extreme validation.

“It gives you a lot of inspiration and faith to press on.”